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For Immediate Release:
November 4, 2013
Contact: 518-486-9846
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New York, NY (November 4, 2013) – The New York State Office for New Americans (ONA) announced today an innovative public-private partnership with the Retraining Program for Immigrant Engineers, a program jointly operated by The Cooper Union and the Bnai Zion Foundation, that will expand offerings of free professional courses and job placement assistance for high-skilled New American engineers and scientists.

Registration for Fall courses is currently open. All participants must be permanent residents, have work authorization, have completed courses of study in their home country, and be seeking retraining in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). To schedule an appointment, determine eligibility or check for available courses, visit You may also call 212.725.1211, ext. 6245, Monday through Thursday (9:00am to 5:00pm) and Friday (9:00am to 2:00pm).

“It is of the utmost importance that the State ensures that college-educated New Americans, who have the legal right to work, have the opportunity to contribute to the State’s economic revitalization,” said New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales, who oversees the New York State Office for New Americans for Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “This partnership with The Cooper Union and the Bnai Zion Foundation will expand opportunities for even more New American engineers and scientists to maintain self-reliance and economic independence through productive employment in their chosen field.”

“Our new partnership with the New York State Office for New Americans provides an exciting opportunity to strengthen and expand our program,” said Professor Fred L. Fontaine, Cooper Union’s Electrical Engineering Department Chair and Director of the program at The Cooper Union.  “We are planning more course offerings and making use of the tablets donated by ONA in our computer courses.  We hope this partnership will increase awareness of our program, so we may reach more people who can benefit.”

Through the existing Retraining Program, eligible immigrants are able to enroll in introductory and high-technology courses designed to update participants’ engineering, computer programming, and business skills. Courses are taught by The Cooper Union faculty and experts in the field. The course offerings each academic year are flexible based on demand in the marketplace and needs of students.

Under the partnership, the New York State Office for New Americans is providing classroom space, tablet computers, and other equipment so that additional classes may be offered in order to ensure greater access for high-skilled New Americans. Further, the New York State Office for New Americans will assist graduates of the program with securing positions in the STEM sectors by linking them to the State’s many job placement services.

Established in 1987, the Retraining Program for Immigrant Engineers provides high-skilled New Americans with courses and workshops aimed at equipping them with tools to strengthen their opportunities for meaningful employment. The program is offered free of charge. Since its inception, the program has enrolled over 4,100 immigrant engineers and has placed more than 2,300 in jobs that have improved their professional and economic circumstances.

As part of the partnership and the program, The Cooper Union provides students with instruction and training through its Albert Nerken School of Engineering, one of America’s foremost undergraduate engineering schools, and offers approximately 30 courses per academic year.  The Bnai Zion Foundation provides students with the skills necessary to negotiate their way into the marketplace and provides personalized career counseling and support to immigrant engineers, both while they are enrolled in the program and thereafter. The foundation also coordinates job referrals, contacts companies about the details of job openings, and provides students with resume-writing assistance and one-on-one interview advice.

Launched this past March by Governor Cuomo, ONA is the first statewide office with a sole focus on assisting our state's immigrants in their efforts to contribute to the economy and become a part of the family of New York.


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